The State Fair Community College Lady Roadrunners have a chip on their shoulders after losing to Mineral Area College on Saturday night in Park Hills.
The Lady Roadrunners (20-9, 4-6 Region 16) will receive an opportunity to avenge that 86-72 loss that handed them the fifth seed for the Region 16 women’s basketball tournament that opens tonight.
State Fair, who beat Mineral Area 61-59 at home on Jan. 26, struggled defensively Saturday night.
Mineral Area (21-7, 5-5 Region 16) shot 60.8 percent (31 of 51) from the field and 61.1 percent (11 of 18) from 3-point range.
“It’s good motivation,” State Fair head coach Kevin Bucher said while traveling with the team to Park Hills on Monday afternoon. “If you can’t get motivated when they shoot 60 and you know you’re better than that, there’s fire in your belly to play them again and show what we can do.”
Despite Mineral Area’s sharp shooting and the Lady Roadrunners’ poor showing, they feel confident that they can beat MAC.
State Fair went 26 of 70 from the field for 37.1 percent and 4 of 14 from 3-point range for 28.6 percent.
“We only lost by 14 with them shooting that well,” Bucher said. “We need to sharpen up defensively and cut down on the turnovers (State Fair had 19 turnovers on Saturday.) We didn’t make easy shots, but we outrebounded them by (16). A lot of good things came out of it.”
The Lady Roadrunners outrebounded Mineral Area 43-27, including 22-1 on offense.
Mineral Area committed 20 turnovers, and the Lady Roadrunners had 10 steals. They outscored MAC 30-16 on points off turnovers, and their reserves outscored their counterparts 43-21.
Chelsea Pannier, the niece of State Fair athletic director Darren Pannier, led a balanced Mineral Area attack with 22 points, including a 6-for-8 showing from 3-point range.
Courtney Knuckles (13 points), Janelle Travis (12), Ashleigh Bow (10) and Chelsea Roberts (10) joined Pannier in double figures.
The loss spoiled a big night by Antoinette Taylor, who scored 27 points and had a team-high three steals. Adella Randle-El had 10 points and a team-high six assists.
Julia Torres and Apiphany Woods had eight rebounds each to lead State Fair.
In the two teams’ first meeting, the Lady Roadrunners lost an 18-point second-half lead and watched Mineral Area outscore them 24-8 to close the game.
However, Randle-El’s 10-foot, baseline jumper with 5.2 seconds remaining saved the Lady Roadrunners.
State Fair committed eight turnovers over the final five minutes.
The winner of the tonight’s game along with the winner of the Three Rivers-Jefferson game will advance to the semifinals that are set for Friday.
The Mineral Area-State Fair winner will meet top-seeded Crowder at 5 p.m. at Three Rivers College in Poplar Bluff.
The Three Rivers-Jefferson winner will meet No. 2 Moberly Area at 7 p.m.
The championship game is set for 3 p.m. Saturday.